Eugene Robinson: ‘We’re Losing this Drug War’

From Robinson’s column in today’s Washington Post:

Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman is yet another victim of the war on drugs. Prohibition is not working. It is time to try something new….

We do know that this need to get high is beyond some people’s control. Our drug policy of prohibition and interdiction makes it difficult and dangerous for people like Hoffman to get high, but not impossible — and it makes these tragic overdose deaths more common than they have to be.

The obvious problem is that when an addict buys drugs on the street, he or she has no way of knowing how pure the product is and what else it might contain….

As long as this commerce is illegal, it is totally unregulated. Since we know that addicts will continue to buy drugs on the street, we also know that some will die from drugs that are either too potent or adulterated with other substances that could make them lethal. Is this really the intent of our drug policy? To invite users to kill themselves?

The idea is supposed to be that authorities will somehow keep the drugs from entering the country. This would be a joke if it weren’t such an epic tragedy.

Read the whole thing.  It is actually well past time to “try something new.”  For Cato scholarship on drug policy, go here.